Switzerland’s Breel Embolo scored the only goal against Cameroon – the country of his birth – in a tough World Cup Group G opener.
Embolo refused to celebrate as he finished off a slick Swiss attack shortly after the break.
The Indomitable Lions were unfortunate to lose after an enterprising performance at the Al Janoub Stadium in Qatar.
Victory was vital for Switzerland as both sides still have to face Brazil in the group.
Embolo moved with his family from Cameroon to Switzerland as a six-year-old and pledged his allegiance to the European nation after being granted citizenship in 2014.
At the age of just 18, he founded the Embolo Foundation to support refugee children in Switzerland and disadvantaged children in the country of his birth.
He said before the game it would be “a very special occasion to play against Cameroon” and when he scored he raised his arms in respect and closed his eyes.
His attack secured victory for a side with high expectations – boss Murat Yakin declared his side “the best Switzerland team ever” and said he expected them to achieve their best return at a World Cup.
Yet they struggled in the first half amid a lively start from Cameroon and should have gone behind, with Eric Choupo-Moting, Bryan Mbeumo and Martin Hongla all missing attractive opportunities.
The goal shook Cameroon and the Swiss had chances to extend their lead, only for Andre Onana to save superbly from Ruben Vargas, while Embolo and substitute Haris Seferovic were denied by last-ditch defending.
The Indomitable Lions have now lost eight consecutive matches at the World Cup finals, but Rigobert Song’s side have impressed at times here.
Their next game against Serbia will be crucial if they are to stand any chance of becoming the first Cameroon side to progress beyond the group stage since 1990.
For Switzerland, the win gives them a break before their match against group favorites Brazil on Monday.
How to play
Rate players out of 10 throughout or after the match. The referee will close 30 minutes after the final whistle.
Rating Series Key = Give it up = Pure perfection
- 1Just as well
- 5AkanjiBook at 83 minutes
- 4ElvediBook by 64min
- 13RodríguezSubstitute forCömertat 90′minutes
- 23ShaqiriSubstitute forOkaforat 72′minutes
- 15SowSubstitute forFreeat 71′minutes
- 17VargasSubstitute forRiederat 81′minutes
- 7EmboloSubstitute forSeferovicat 72′minutes
- 19Fai CollinsBook by 36min
- 14Uncle Gouet
- 18HonglaSubstitute forOndouaat 68′minutes
- 20MbeumoSubstitute forNgamaleuat 81′minutes
- 13Choupo-MotingSubstitute forAboubakarat 74′minutes
- 12Toko-EkambiSubstitute forNkoudouat 74′minutes
- 2Ngom Mbekeli
- Facundo Tello
Match ends, Switzerland 1, Cameroon 0.
Second half ends, Switzerland 1, Cameroon 0.
Manuel Akanji (Switzerland) wins a free kick on the right wing.
Foul by Georges-Kévin Nkoudou (Cameroon).
Hoek, Switzerland. Caused by Jean-Charles Castelletto.
Attempt blocked. Haris Seferovic (Switzerland) left footed shot from the center of the box is blocked. Assisted by Fabian Rieder with a header.
Hoek, Switzerland. Converted by Nouhou Tolo.
Replacement, Switzerland. Eray Cömert replaces Ricardo Rodríguez.
Foul by Gaël Ondoua (Cameroon).
Fabian Rieder (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Attempt saved. Granit Xhaka (Switzerland) left footed shot from outside the box is saved in the bottom right corner. Assisted by Noah Okafor.
Foul by Moumi Ngamaleu (Cameroon).
Ricardo Rodríguez (Switzerland) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Manuel Akanji (Switzerland) is shown the yellow card for a bad foul.
Foul by Manuel Akanji (Switzerland).
Frank Anguissa (Cameroon) wins a free kick in the defensive half.
Hoek, Switzerland. Translated by Nicolas Nkoulou.
Replacement, Cameroon. Moumi Ngamaleu replaces Bryan Mbeumo.
Replacement, Switzerland. Fabian Rieder replaces Rubén Vargas.
Foul by Fabian Frei (Switzerland).
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